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  1. #1
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    Default THE GLOCK THUMB SAFETY

    tasmanian-11.jpg.

    I first saw one in 1996 while teaching at Front Sight. The shooter was from Australia and he brought his duty pistol with him. It was a standard Glock 17 but it had a factory installed thumb safety. It was met with a collective shrug, and the notion was that it was unnecessary, with ancillary comments of "just get a 1911".

    That was almost 25 years ago and we have thousands more people carrying pistols today, both in and out of uniform. As well we know more about training the gunfighter than at any time in history. The original thought was that the safety on a 1911 would not be activated OFF quickly enough, thus why the safetyless weapon was a better choice. But I have come to rethink that and consider the addition of a manual safety as a good choice.

    Why the change? Not much of a change other than the original Glock didn't come with one and it worked fine that way. But the more I have run classes and the more we have pushed the edge of the envelope, coming very close to the realities of actual gunfights, the less I think operating a manual thumb safety is an issue.

    The thumb safety is a different matter than a grip safety. The thumb will be in position to disengage the safety anytime the pistol is gripped. And there are steps to be taken in events where the grip is not perfect. But those are training issues that are easily addressed.

    What does it do for you? What is the benefit? Here are a few.

    1). An added margin of safety when the pistol is unloaded or loaded.
    2). An added margin of safety when the pistol is set on a surface, sans holster, and out of your control.
    3). An added margin of safety when holstering - where most self inflicted gunshots occur.
    4). An added margin of safety if the weapon is dropped. Yeah...I know...but apparently it happens alot.
    5). An added margin of safety when drawing - thumb is usually not in position until cleared of holster and driving forward.

    Does it help you kill the bad guy better or faster? No, but neither does it hamper you from doing so as you manage now. In my opinion, after some nearly thirty years teaching gunfighting to gunfighters, as long as something does not detract from mission one, added margins of safety are a good thing.

    More to follow, and interested in your opinions.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    And yeah...I am doing it on my carry weapons. Here is the second one.

    Suarez-SI-317-Desert-Coyote_1.jpg
    Suarez-SI-317-Desert-Coyote_8.jpg
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  3. #3
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    From our FoF training:
    - A big additional hurdle for unintentional discharges when entangled and fighting for the gun. Keeping the trigger finger straight is not going to prevent much when the other guy is trying to peel your fingers from the gun and/or get a better grip on it any way he can.


    Also, what I never understood:
    We don't have manual safeties on our pistols because we might forget to deactivate them under stress. But with rifles and shotguns, we use them without any issues if we train diligently.
    Where is the big difference? Put the necessary time and repetitions in and youre good to go.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bold View Post
    <snip>


    Also, what I never understood:
    We don't have manual safeties on our pistols because we might forget to deactivate them under stress. But with rifles and shotguns, we use them without any issues if we train diligently.
    Where is the big difference?<snip>
    One big difference is that we can carry handguns ready to use in a device (a holster) that protects the trigger from inadvertent contact. Slung long guns have no such trigger protection. And many long guns (AR platform) put the safety on the left side, where it can be rubbed off by contact with the carrier's body or clothing.

    A holster for a handgun with a safety should protect the safety as well as protecting the trigger. I have had an ambi safety switched off while holstered when the right side wasn't protected.

    John W in SC

  5. #5
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    For use with an arm brace I can see the need for a safety. On holster carried glocks it would be nice to have for holstering the gun, but otherwise i want it off once it is holstered and what is out there now seems to not be ambidextrous.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
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  6. #6
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    Uh... What about the numerous times in training when the safety on a 1911 has been missed? In a proactive situation I don't see it as a problem or on a braced pistol but it could cause many problems in a reactive situation. Its not like a long gun where its in your hands and you can choose to take the safety off if you think trouble is close. This seems to be a radical departure from The Suarez Method and reeks of the sort of hardware solution to a software problem that would fill the pages of a gun rag or the type of thing the underachieving soy boys would advocate.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John W in SC View Post
    One big difference is that we can carry handguns ready to use in a device (a holster) that protects the trigger from inadvertent contact. Slung long guns have no such trigger protection.
    I get that and I agree - the holster does for the handgun what the safety does for the long gun in contexts where we only carry it from A to B in the holster or on the sling.


    But I question the assumption of trained shooters being in real danger of forgetting to take the safety off with their handgun when they do it very reliably with the long gun. Because they train for it.


    And look at safety use with long guns: Most organizations teach to put the safety on when the rifle leaves the shoulder. But we don't see a similar need for the pistol - why is that? Either we are using the safety too much on our long guns or too little on our handguns.

    Wouldn't it be consistent to only put the long gun on safe in a situation where we would holster the pistol? Or have a safety on the pistol we use in all the same circumstances as we use it on the long gun, i.e. gun still in hand, but not in immediate shooting use?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bold View Post
    And look at safety use with long guns: Most organizations teach to put the safety on when the rifle leaves the shoulder. But we don't see a similar need for the pistol - why is that? Either we are using the safety too much on our long guns or too little on our handguns.

    Wouldn't it be consistent to only put the long gun on safe in a situation where we would holster the pistol? Or have a safety on the pistol we use in all the same circumstances as we use it on the long gun, i.e. gun still in hand, but not in immediate shooting use?
    I think there is a real difference to be noted with regard to (most) striker-fired handguns: The trigger safety lever and internal disconnectors at least minimize the risk of ND, even if the trigger is brushed by something, whereas on all long guns of which I am aware, those features are absent. This makes the 1911 or other firearms with a single action trigger much closer analogues to the rifle in the sorts of situations you reference, while the shooter can mitigate much of that risk simply by taking his finger off the trigger, due to the additional features of most striker pistols,

    There is something to be said for putting the safety on intentionally, but since a handgun is, with very rare exception, either in one's hand or a holster, the additional potential circumstances of ND that safeties on PDWs and rifles (not being carried in holsters) are there to vitiate, it seems to me the situation with a true handgun, if you will, is different enough to put the need of a manual safety on a striker pistol in a gray area.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricco View Post
    ......unless that has changed too

    I dunno, I'm very confused by all this

    It doesn't matter much though, I will continue to do what I have learned via FOF, others can follow the new paradigm
    Good for you. Thanks for the contribution. Now that out of the way...we will continue the discussion.

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    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bold View Post
    But I question the assumption of trained shooters being in real danger of forgetting to take the safety off with their handgun when they do it very reliably with the long gun. Because they train for it.


    And look at safety use with long guns: Most organizations teach to put the safety on when the rifle leaves the shoulder. But we don't see a similar need for the pistol - why is that? Either we are using the safety too much on our long guns or too little on our handguns.

    Wouldn't it be consistent to only put the long gun on safe in a situation where we would holster the pistol? Or have a safety on the pistol we use in all the same circumstances as we use it on the long gun, i.e. gun still in hand, but not in immediate shooting use?
    Personally for me it depends on circumstances. With an AR and 1911, I safe when I'm moving, off safe when presenting/mounted (weather moving or not). With a 92F I'm off safe as long as it's out of the holster (because DS/SA advantage and the European safety. But you've hit on the head the real issue which I highlighted in bold.

    ETA: I couldn't tell you how green I was the last time I mounted an M4 and forgot the safety, or the last time I drew a pistol with a manual safety (even under real stress) and missed/forgot the safety.
    Last edited by Greg Nichols; 07-01-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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